How can Yom Kippur, Ramadan, and the Woman’s body save a company’s health?

In an age where we live in a monotonous pace of “go faster!”, our bodies that are meant to have periods of fasting ~ i.e. a slowing down of the normal pace of all of life ~ are crying out for us to do something drastic and unheard of: SLOW DOWN!

Last week marked the Fall Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere – a day with equal amounts of light and dark. It is the half way point between the Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year…and the Winter Solstice – the shortest day. yom-kippur2-H

For millennia people of all cultures, races and religions celebrated this time of balance and change in common ways:

  • The Jewish people marked this turn with osh Hashanah – the New Year – the last day falling on the Equinox with their most holy day Yom Kippur.
  • The Muslims have Ramadan, a full month of looking inwards with prayer.
  • The Pagans had their own rituals full of festivals and dances outside under the Sun and Moon themselves.
  • Women of these ancient cultures had monthly reminders of the waning of one cycle (we now call this the PMS week) that would give into the “winter” of their cycle with the bleed. During this time they would retreat to the Red Tent to take their winter’s rest, to take inventory of what was working and what wasn’t during the past month.

All of these cultures noticed the Sun’s waning light, the tree’s falling leaves and the varied rises and falls in temps to know the winter was coming. They dropped the extra activities and other “leaves” that would not be needed for the long winter’s rest ahead…knowing that summer’s fast push would kill them if they carried it through winter.  They understood that being nature thmselves, they too could use the Earth’s season as a metaphor for their inner lives to help create optimal total embodied AND communal health.images

This was their nature, and they did not fight against it – neither the men nor the women. This provided for a steady rhythm of life instead of the monotonous tone we now live in. They didn’t view progress as full steam ahead – but as one going in a systematic rhythm of rest, activity, rest, activity.

As I sat down to enjoy my own version of Yom Kippur today with the flow of my Moon time rest I now know I NEED in order to be of service to the world – I am reminded of how Corporate America, the driving force behind our insane speed – needs to re-learn this valuable way of social living.

The health of American’s is appalling as most of us know.  Not only that but 70-90% of us are miserable at work. These both affect each other.

No wonder we are lagging behind most of the Industrialized world in both health and creativity – which makes it no surprise that the Wall Street Journal is wondering how we can Restore American Exceptionalism.

The writer of this article thinks that picking Obama’s successor is the how we will regain our status in the world.  Corporate America, Hollywood and the fitness industry think we will regain it by working harder, pushing ourselves ever faster and burning the mid-night oil and those calories.

As a Corporate Cultural & Human Performance Specialist –
I whole heartedly 
believe the answers are two fold:

1) The whole is only as good as the sum or its parts.
We are social animals that THRIVE in a supportive, co-hesive Communal unit.
Companies have become most people’s primary communities, spending some 40-80 hours a week within It’s walls.  How can the Company start to see themselves as the Communal hub they are for their team members well-being ~ thus fostering an environment within it’s “tribe” that will allow for the optimal performance of both the individual and their team as  whole?
2)  Less REALLY is MORE.
When we WORK WITH our circadian rhythms of active/rest/active, we are able to get into a Flow state.
This means we FEEL better. When we feel better about ourselves, we stop resisting and tensing our bodies.  We feel better with those around us – including the Community/Company.  When wee feel better about our community, we are more likely to be devoted, dedicated and eager to create, instead of working against ourselves and our company.  When we FEEL well rested, we can create more efficiently ~ birthing better QUALITY ideas, products and services.

KNOWING this information and applying it in Corporate America might seem risky and scary.

I know I was just applying for a Wellness Director position at Fitbit that stated I must be willing to “thrive in a fast paced environment” (what job description doesn’t say this?).  Honestly, this is exactly the opposite of what a true Wellness Director needs to do.  They need to be strong enough to put on the breaks and say “whoa horsey!”

Yet the more we work with these 2 foundational principles within our companies and our lives, the more we can reclaim America’s Exceptionalism – and our individual exceptionalism as well.

BONUS QUESTIONS:  keep-calm-its-the-first-day-of-fall-2
The Fall season is a metaphor of “Letting Go” of what is no longer needed in favor of the absolute essentials for the coming winter hibernation.  Here are some questions to ponder both as a company and individual.

  • Which method have you or are you currently living in – monotone or rhythm?
  • What are the short term and long term results of this method? (I.E. How do you feel about your job, yourself, your purpose, your employer ?
    As an employer – do you know how your employees feel about your company, their job and their team members?  Do they feel they are living an optimized life?  How is this showing up in the health care costs of the company?  And while not a tangible metric, advertising shows us we are feelers – so how does it FEEL when you walk into the office on any given day?  What would you LIKE it to feel like?)
  • What are the opportunity costs if known for pushing at this pace?
  • What are you willing to try differently this season and willing to monitor over the next couple of years to see the results…even those that are intangible?

If you would like help establishing metrics and establishing a base line this Fall, and/or implementing Corporate Culture change that would optimize the human capital potential, please contact me.  I am passionate about helping small to medium sized companies uncover the unlimited possibilities of human performance.

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